The Calallen Wildcats (17-0) had to endure three one-run win games to capture the Calallen Wildcat Baseball Tournament this weekend. After edging out Eagle Pass, 4-3, and Corpus Christi King, 7-6, the Wildcats prevailed against the 5A powerhouse Carroll Tigers, 3-2.
"We've played good in those close ball games, and that's what helped us win," said Calallen head coach Steve Chapman.
Calallen pitcher Logan Verrett had an impressive outing on the mound, pitching a complete game with 15 strikeouts and giving up just four hits.
"Logan's a really good pitcher and we expect the best out of him," Chapman said. "There's no doubt about it. He did a fantastic job."
The Tigers (11-6), who finished fourth in the Mira's Tournament the week before were the runner-up at the Calallen tournament for the second straight year.
"It's fun playing this team. That's what it's all about" Carroll head coach Lee Yeager said. "I thought we completed against a really good pitcher. All in all I thought we did a pretty good job."
The game remained scoreless in the first five innings, with several opportunities for Carroll and Calallen to score.
The Wildcats first shot at scoring came in the bottom of the first inning. With shortstop Jeramie Marek at third and left fielder Kris Guererro at second with two outs, Verrett batted and struck out ending the inning.
The Tigers had their first chance to score in the top of the second as former Calallen player Marcus Irvine hit a lead-off, stand-up double, but was left stranded after Verrett struck out the next three batters.
In the bottom of the third inning, center fielder Matt Garza made his way to third base after a walk, a ground out and a passed ball from Carroll.
With one out, Tiger pitcher Luis Hinojosa struckout his next two batters, keeping the game scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, Carroll had runners at second and third base for designated hitter Jonathan Barbee. Verrett had a full count on him threatening to load the bases, nut
Verrett got Calallen out of the jam after striking Barbee out.
Scoring finally occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Wildcats scored first.
With two outs and Calallen first baseman Skyler Hoelscher at third, Hinojosa faced second baseman Derek Hagy, who hit an RBI-single to right field giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Marek came up next, hitting an RBI-double and bringing Hagy all the way home from first.
Guererro was next to bat and Hinojosa gave up his third straight run after allowing an RBI-double to a gap in center field.
The Wildcats were up 3-0.
The Tigers tried to roar back in the top of the sixth as Verrett loaded the bases after hitting Carroll third baseman Jeremy Narvaez with no outs.
After striking out Irvine, Verrett faced shortstop Luke Garza, who hit a sacrifice fly bringing in center fielder Mark Blackmar for Carroll's first run of the game.
With runners at the corners, Verrett tried to pick off pinch runner Aaron Williams, but the ball passed Hoelscher as Ryan Spruce scored the second run for the Tigers.
Carroll's Williams was at third base as Verrett faced right fielder Dustin Grohman. Verrett escaped the inning after Calallen right fielder Aaron Alaniz caught Grohman's fly ball for the third out.
"It's good to play a team like this early," Yeager said. "That way we can be able to compete at a higher level when we begin district play."
Calallen faces the defending 4A State Champion Moody Trojans Friday at 7 p.m. at Whataburger Field, and they will play Carroll again March 20.